At its 3rd National Convention, this past Saturday, Brazil’s Socialism and Liberty Party (P-SOL), a left-wing party of dissidents from the ruling Workers Party (PT), confirmed the candidacy of Plínio Arruda Sampaio for president in the general elections in October.
There were two other candidates for the nomination. Babá, a federal deputy, gave his votes to Plínio Sampaio, so the decision could be unanimous. This was possible because the other candidate, Mariniano Cavalcante, of Goiás, did not appear at the convention as he was attending an alternative, protest event with former senator and president of P-SOL, Heloísa Helena.
Sampaio admitted that the party was divided but expressed hope that the problem, which he said occurred in the heat of a political dispute, could be overcome in the future.
He declared that one of the main goals in his campaign platform will be to halt real estate speculation and put an end to tragedies like this year’s rains of Rio and São Paulo once and for all.
Plínio Arruda Sampaio is a retired prosecutor and the president of the Brazilian Land Reform Association (Abra). He was elected to the federal Chamber of Deputies three times, served in state government and is a professor at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.
In 2006 he was the P-SOL candidate for governor of São Paulo, finishing in fourth place.
Also on Saturday, in an acceptance speech that lasted over an hour, the PSDB candidate for president José Serra, the former governor of São Paulo, spoke to an enthusiastic audience in Brasília.
His main message was that he wanted to be president of a united Brazil. He criticized the polarization of the political scene, a reference to attempts to make the presidential campaign a referendum on the PT and Serra’s party.
“In our administration, there will not be states of the North against states of the South, big cities against small cities, urban against rural, commerce against industry, blues against reds,” he declared.
A number of times Serra said, “Brazil can do more,” which looks like it will be one of his campaign slogans. Serra pointed out that the progress of the last 25 years was not the work of one administration, one man or one party, but a collective effort that he intends to continue.
Serra spoke of his activities while minister of Health during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, his participation in writing the Constitution of 1988, the period when he was a political exile in Chile during the military dictatorship. He also told the story of his father, a fruit vendor, who taught him the value of work.
As for the long and hard campaign ahead, Serra said “There will be many attacks and we must respond calmly. The more lies they throw at us the more we will tell the truth.”
The leadership of the PSDB was present, including Sergio Guerra, president of the party, the former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and the former governor of Minas Gerais, Aécio Neves.
The presidents of the PPS, Roberto Freire, and the DEM, Rodrigo Maia, declared that their parties are now formally part of an alliance to elect José Serra president of Brazil. Nobody said anything about who Serra’s vice president is going to be.